the author sentenced to 18 months in prison

© KEYSTONE/AP/Ludovic Marin

The Valence Criminal Court on Thursday sentenced Damien T. to 18 months in prison for having slapped President Emmanuel Macron two days earlier during a trip to the Drôme. Four months are firm, and 14 suspended.

The court partially followed the requisitions of the prosecution, which asked for 18 months firm and a warrant of arrest against the 28-year-old man who admitted during the hearing to have, two days earlier, slapped the President of the Republic during ‘a trip to the Drôme.

Until then unknown to the justice services, Damien T. was also sentenced to an obligation of work or training and a ban on carrying weapons for five years.

This slap, “perfectly inadmissible” is an “act of deliberate violence”, supported the public prosecutor Alex Perrin facing the defendant, long hair, green t-shirt and glasses on his nose, who was tried in immediate appearance . The latter could request a postponement of the trial to better prepare his defense but asked to be tried “immediately”.

“Cold determination”

Mr. Perrin was worried about a possible risk of recurrence, saying he perceived “a kind of cold determination” in this resident of the small town of Saint-Vallier.

Damien T. admitted during the hearing to have hit the president, with an “impulsive” gesture. “I do not appreciate him and when he went directly to me, at first, it surprised me”, said the one who said to himself “invested by the ‘yellow vests’ whose voice does not ‘is heard more “.

Before explaining it. “It’s his campaign: he’s trying to target French youth.” “When I saw his sympathetic and lying gaze,” I understood, he said, that he “wanted to make me a potential voter.”

The president of the court was surprised at this gesture, while the respondent said he was fond of martial arts. “How does your reaction on Tuesday conform to these principles, to chivalry, to the mastery that martial arts teach you?” “If we stay in reality, I just slapped Emmanuel Macron because a feeling of injustice ran through me. It has nothing to do with chivalry or my personal activities,” he replied.

Patriot slogan

Damien T. recognized his anchoring to the right of the political spectrum, assuring that his cry “Montjoie Saint-Denis” pronounced before his slap “refers to the historic rallying cry of the French knights. It is also a patriotic slogan,” a he said in court in Valence.

Unemployed and living on the RSA, the respondent recognized academic difficulties due to his dyslexia, a baccalaureate passed twice, embalming training interrupted before the national diploma. Since the death of his father, two years ago, he has not worked again.

To revive “his dying little country town”, he set up three associations: a medieval martial arts club, a games association and a manga festival. And read a lot about the Middle Ages.

“Talk to the president”

In his plea, his lawyer Elodie Guellier was moved by the role of the press, “it’s been 48 hours that the entourage lives a hell”, and asked the court to “relativize the facts”. “His objective was to exchange with the president”, she added, acknowledging a “particularly unsuitable gesture” coming from a “lambda” man “who has never hit anyone”. “I think he realized the gravity of the facts.”

Calling on the court that there should be no “exceptional justice” or “example justice”, she suggested, in vain, community service, because incarceration “does not will bring it to nothing “. “This decision will be observed, scrutinized” and will even have “an international media echo”, predicted Mr. Perrin, in reference to the many journalists gathered in court.

Emmanuel Macron again downplayed this episode Thursday, believing that the country is not in a situation of tension as during the crisis of “yellow vests” and preferring to insist on the atmosphere of “optimism” that he feels in France . “You have to put things into perspective and not trivialize anything” but “it does not matter to receive a slap when you go to a crowd,” he added in an interview with the BFMTV channel.

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